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Thursday, 20 June 1946

Mr ARCHIE CAMERON (Barker) . - I draw the attention of the Government to opinions that have been expressed by the Returned Sailors, Soldiers and Airmen's Imperial League of Australia in New South Wales in regard to soldier land settlement. The journal Reveille, the official organ of that body, reached me in Canberra this morning. On page 4, there is an interesting article headed, "Blue Print for Land Settlement" by Keith H. Todd, New South Wales country vice-president. " Financial assistance for purchase of single-unit farms would help settlers ", is the subheading. I shall not read the whole of the article. But certain passages in it should be brought to the attention of the Government, because I believe that they reflect the considered opinion of ex-servicemen in New South Wales in what, after all, is a very important matter. The article starts off with this statement -

In spite of the many promises made by the State and Federal Governments, no real progress has taken place in the settlement of ex-servicemen on the land.

Later, it says -

Not one decent farm has been made available in the central division - the twenty-inch rainfall belt, described by Mr. Tully as the only land worthy of settlement for ex-service personnel. Can this be described as successful settlement? Bather is it not a glaring example of procrastination ?

Later, it says -

Generally speaking, the New South Wales 1945 War Service Act makes provision for successful land settlement, the only trouble being continual delay in making farms available.As things are at present, it seems to be a case of shuttlecock between the Commonwealth and the State.

Further on, it says -

In New South Wales, 15,000 men have applied for qualification certificates, 7,000 have been dealt with and issued with the required certificates. The bulk of these are men with overseas service of up to six years. Assuming that the Government can only make provision for 500 farms a year, some of these 15,000 men will be waiting from eleven to fifteen years.

That is a lengthy stretch of time. Another quotation reads -

In the meantime their deferred pay, accumulated savings, and most important of all, their

Adjournment.[20 J une, 1946,] Answers to Questions. 1703 youth, interestand enthusiasm have, to all intents and purposes, disappeared and they become disappointed, disillusioned and, in some cases, embittered men.

My last quotation is this -

Finally, and most important of all, provision should be made for an increase in finance (at present £1,000) granted under the Reestablishment Act, and the State and Commonwealth Governments should agree to the purchase of single-unit farms.

It is necessary that what has been here published should be impressed on the minds of Ministers ; although I doubt the capacity of anything other than theballotbox to make that very necessary imprint upon their granite-like outlook on this matter.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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